Eight more dogs have been euthanized after being exposed to distemper at the Franklin County Dog Shelter in Cincinnati, Ohio as over 200 people protested outside the Franklin County Administrative Building.
The respiratory disease was first detected on August 31 when the first dog confirmed to have distemper was euthanized. In total, 60 dogs have been put down as the shelter continues to contain the outbreak.
The shelter closed last Friday after diagnosis was confirmed, and reopened Monday so that dog owners could get their dogs checked and others could reclaim their pets. Most dogs have been quarantined, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
Distemper is often fatal to canines. Dogs that have been exposed to the disease showed severe symptoms and could not be humanely isolated, hence the euthanasia, officials explained.
Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady says,
We are all heartbroken over what has happened and the hard work and the difficult work that will continue.
Commissioner Marilyn Brown said, “Working together, we are going to solve this issue.”
The shelter reported that 163 out of its 223 dogs were quarantined as of Monday night, and 19 had to be moved to a medically supervised quarantine site. Shelter officials said they are working with other animal rescue groups to move more dogs to free up space at the shelter. Since the shelter is a public facility, they have to take in strays and dogs that are dropped off.
Today, over 200 people and a dozen of their dogs converged at the Franklin County building to protest the euthanizing of the canines. Some of the protesters have complained that the shelter has not done enough, including partnering with rescue groups that might have taken some of the dogs that were put down.
“The shelter isn’t managed right, it’s continually overcrowded,” Harriet Bomas, a volunteer at the shelter, said.
Luke Westerman, the protest’s organizer and head of The Westerman Family Foundation, said, “All we’re asking for is honesty, transparency and compassion.”